Bolivia in 100 words

Before you read this, let me just say that 100 words does not do this post justice. Just 100 words will barely begin to describe the beauty of Bolivia and the warmth of its people. Just 100 words isn't enough.

But please, please take these 100 words to heart. Understand they represent a fraction of a deeper story we're desperate to tell -- a story about survival and faith, sacrifice and family, difference and commonality. I hope these 100 words paint for you a picture as vivid as the memories in our minds, and as resilient as the love in our hearts.

This list was created out of the words from and expressions of the families and individuals we met, those who translated for us all week, and our own feelings. It is a combination of words that describe Bolivia -- the country, the people, the experience, the food, the faces, and the moments we'll never forget.


The Bolivia bloggers team

100. Breath-taking

99. Colorful

98. Rich (in love and family). I asked one of our translators before we left if Bolivians considered their country poor or in poverty. She said to me, "Well, that depends on what you mean by the word poverty. Bolivia is rich in culture, love and family. By those measures, we are not poor at all." Amen.

97. Abandonment

96. Survivors

©2011 Matthew Paul Turner for World Vision

95. Eyes

94. Freedom

93. Culture

92. Valor

91. Warm

90. Beautiful

89. Ninos -- meaning children

88. Chants

87. Giving

86. Sacrifice

85. Con gas -- In Bolivia, unless you specify, your bottled water comes carbonated or con gas (meaning with gas)

In Viloma ADP, this mother makes her business as the town's seamstress. ©2011 Matthew Paul Turner for World Vision

84. Family

83. Work

82. Light

81. Justice

80. Fascinating

79. Faith

78. Dusty

77. Forgiveness

76. Abuse

75. Music

74. Faces

73. Poverty

On the highest hill in Cochabamba stands the Cristo de la Concordia, the second-largest statue of Jesus in the world. ©2011 Matthew Paul Turner for World Vision

72. Women

71. Peace-driven

70. Difference

69. Jesus

68. Opportunity

67. Dancing

66. Happiness

65. Celebration

64. Family

63. Diversity

62. Food-security

61. Proud

60. Struggle

59. Prayer

58. Blessing

57. ben diga cuyes -- meaning guinea pigs, which are raised and eaten by many in Bolivia since they are high in protein and low in fat. World Vision helps to build guinea pig houses for families. The pigs can be sold at the local market for extra income. We met one mother that raises guinea pigs, trades them at the market to get milk, salt and butter, then makes her own cheese. And it was delicious!

56. Bricks

©2011 Matthew Paul Turner for World Vision

55. Sponsorship

54. Mountains

53. Health

52. Resilience

51. Smile

50. Welcoming

49. Superstition

48. Hats

47. Vulnerable

46. Amore, or love

45. Gifts

44. Braids

43. Joyful

©2011 Matthew Paul Turner for World Vision

42. Unashamed

41. Sorojchi -- meaning headaches. It's easy for visitors to get headaches since the altitude in Bolivia is very high.

40. yama -- meaning llama, one of the many animals raised in Bolivia.

39. Inspiring

38. Chicharron -- The Bolivian equivalent of pulled pork.

37. Kindness

36. Mothers

35. Buses

34. Community

33. Fanta -- Ask Matthew Paul Turner about this one. He loves the Bolivian Fanta drinks.

32. Roosters

©2011 Matthew Paul Turner for World Vision

31. Friendship

30. Shy

29. Arminda

28. Winding roads

27. Laughter

26. Gracias

25. Quiet

24. Effort

23. Evolving

22. Potatoes -- As we visited World Vision ADP's, the women in the communities almost always served us the yummiest red potatoes. Their secret? They grow and cook them themselves.

21. Instability

At a World Vision special needs center in Colomi ADP, a child receives braces for the first time to help her walk. ©2011 Matthew Paul Turner for World Vision

20. Gratitude

19. Dry

18. Help

17. Coffee

16. Corruption

15. Dams

14. Language

13. Chauvinism

12. Change

11. Heavenly

10. Conservative

9. War (The Mommy-war, that is)


8. Humble

7. Our treasure -- This was a statement I heard over and over again from the families I met. I would ask them "what does Bolivia mean to you." Each one of them replied with this same statement, "Bolivia is our treasure."

6. History

5. Youth

4. Modest

3. Unforgettable

2. Hard-working

1. Viva Bolivia! -- The favorite Bolivian statement of all meaning long live Bolivia!

Need a catch-up on our Bolivia trip? See our favorite posts.

Sponsor a child in Bolivia


    Thank you so much for your comment, Barbara. I read it twice believing that what you are saying truly comes out of your heart to look after your neighbors, whoever they may be. I join your prayer -- may we all be challenged to use our voices to help others.

    As a longtime advocate for Darfur I have seen the horrid things these poverty stricken places are infested with. I would have to say however rich the culture is they still need more food,medicine,education and so on. The only way to really help is to petition the government with unrelenting word of mouth , paper and pen, and phone calls - demanding we send some of our troops to aid the people of Bolivia. Missionaries can be of enormous help in enormous numbers but many people are having a difficult time with their own problems with America's rising unemployment rate and increasing problems caused by our deficit which is also increasing...if every working american could (or would ...) look at the travesties these countries go through and what our own people are going through there would be an army of missionaries hopping planes to end starvation, to end diseases, to build hospitals, to put an end to ignorance, racism, and apathy...first we need to address the growing number of these problems in america - alert the government that there are more important thing to worry about than the mighty dollar - THE MIGHTY AMERICANS! What has happened to the land of the FREE and the home of the brave? What ever happened to bring your, poor, tired and hungry?? if we are too lazy to work for a living than dont blame the increase in illegals for "stealing" our work to get by. There are jobs available everywhere for able-bodied individuals. We need to make EVERYBODY AWARE OF THE PROBLEMS WE ARE FACING AND THE SEVERITY OF THE SITUATION FACING OUR PEOPLE AND THE PEOPLE WE ARE AT PEACE WITH. PEOPLE WILL CHOOSE TO TURN THE OTHER CHEEK AND BLOCK OUT ALL THE BAD THINGS THAT THEY THINK DOES NOT AFFECT THEM UNTIL IT ACTUALLY DOES. WE ARE ALMOST IF NOT AT THE BREAKING POINT AND EVERYBODY EVERY SINGLE PERSON NEEDS TO BE MORE EMPATHETIC , AND GET OFF THEIR REAR AND HELP WHILE THERE IS TIME.I AM A DISABLED WOMAN WITH MENTAL ILLNESS AND A POOR UNDERSTANDING OF POLITICS BUT I DO BELIEVE IN TREATING OTHERS AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED AND HONOR THY NEIGHBOR. I WOULDNT WANT A NEIGHBOR THAT WOULD RATHER WATCH TV THAN HELP SOMEONE IN NEED. I AM TOO POOR MYSELF TO OFFER ANY MONETARY FUNDS BUT I WOULD HELP IF I COULD HELP AND THROUGH ADVOCATING ALL THE HORRIBLE THINGS HAPPENING ALL OVER THE WORLD - GETTING THE WORD OUT AS A GOOD CHRISTIAN I AM HELPING WITH MY VOICE NO MATTER HOW HARD IT IS TO HEAR IT.

    Barbara Jeane Hornbeak

    prayer is powerfull if it comes from the heart. So keep praying! everyone!!!!

    Thanks for the kind feedback, Raissa. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Bolivia -- the culture, the country and the people there. I will never ever forget my experiences there and the lifelong friendships gained. I can promise you Bolivia is in our team's hearts and prayers daily forever. So glad you enjoyed the post.

    Thank you for posting this and for describing the Bolivian people with very tender words. It seams that you were able to grasp the Bolivian culture. I'm from Bolivia and I love my country. Many people don't know much about Bolivia and the many problems that it currently faces, thank you by shining some light on the people of Bolivia.

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